GUWAHATI, April 18 - Over 73 per cent of the electorate exercised their franchise in the five constituencies of Assam that went to the polls in the second phase of the Lok Sabha elections today. The final polling percentage is expected to be higher with voting continuing at many places beyond 5 pm. However, the Election Commission has not updated the polling figures after 5 pm and the exact poll percentage is expected tomorrow.
The five constituencies that went to the polls in the second phase today are Karimganj, Silchar, Autonomous District (Diphu), Nagaon and Mangaldoi.
Chief Electoral Officer, Assam, Mukesh Sahu said that the polling was by and large peaceful across the five constituencies with no major incidents of violence reported. �There were some minor incidents of scuffle reported in some constituencies, which were taken care of immediately,� he said.
There were minor glitches at certain polling stations due to technical problems in EVMs and the voting machines had to be replaced. That led to delay in polling at certain stations. �In polling booths where EVM malfunctioning was reported, the machines were immediately replaced. Polling continued beyond 5 pm at some places,� Sahu said.
The average turnout figure in the five constituencies is 73.32 per cent as on 5 pm. The final figure is expected by tomorrow evening after the polling parties, many of which were on duty in remote polling stations, return to the respective district headquarters. Of the total 8,992 polling stations in the five constituencies, as many as 1,033 are in remote areas.
Till 5 pm, the highest polling of 75.71 per cent was reported from Nagaon constituency, while Mangaldoi witnessed 75.07 per cent polling, Silchar 71.79 per cent, Karimganj 71.41 per cent and Diphu 69.51 per cent, as per data released by the Election Commission.
Meanwhile, repolling at Polling Station No. 165, Dhemaji Town High School (EW), under the Lakhimpur Lok Sabha constituency also passed off peacefully. The turnout there stood at 69.09 per cent.
The weather, which was inclement during last few days, improved today and voters were seen queuing outside polling booths since as early as 5:30 am at many places. Polling started at 7 am.
Altogether, 50 candidates are in fray in the five constituencies � 14 in Karimganj, 13 in Silchar, 11 in Mangaldoi, seven in Nagaon and five in Diphu.
AIUDF president Badruddin Ajmal exercised his franchise at Hojai and Congress� Sushmita Dev voted at Silchar, among other notables.
In the last elections held in 2014, Karimganj had recorded a turnout of 76.14 per cent, Silchar 75.46 per cent, Diphu 77.43 per cent, Mangaldoi 81.38 per cent, while Nagaon had witnessed a turnout of 80.75 per cent. In 2014, the BJP had emerged victorious in Nagaon and Mangaldoi constituencies and the Congress had won from Silchar and Diphu, while the AIUDF had secured the Karimganj seat.
This time while the main contest in Silchar, Diphu, Nagaon and Mangaldoi constituencies is expected to be between the ruling BJP and the principal opposition party Congress, a three-cornered contest is likely in Karimganj between the BJP, the Congress and the AIUDF.
Unlike 2014, this time the BJP has an alliance with the AGP and the BPF, as well as with three other smaller local parties. As part of seat-sharing arrangement among the NDA constituents, the BJP has fielded candidates from all the five constituencies of the second phase. The Congress party is also in fray in all the five constituencies, while the AIUDF has fielded its own candidate only in Karimganj.
The contest in Karimganj is likely to be a three-cornered one among Kripanath Mallah of BJP, Radheshyam Biswas of AIUDF and Swarup Das on Congress.
The main contest in Silchar constituency is likely to be between BJP�s Dr Rajdeep Roy and Congress candidate Sushmita Dev, while in Diphu it is likely to be between BJP�s Haren Sing Bey and Congress� Biren Sing Engti.
In Nagaon, the main contest is expected to be between BJP�s Rupak Sarmah and Congress nominee Pradyut Bordoloi, and in Mangaldoi it is a direct contest between Dilip Saikia of BJP and Bhubaneswar Kalita of Congress.